Graven Hill FAQ

Find the answers to some common questions about this unique self and custom build development
by Build It magazine
15th December 2018

What is Graven Hill?

It’s the largest opportunity in the UK for people keen to build their own home, with planning for over 1,900 properties – including more than 700 serviced self-builds.

Where is Graven Hill?

The site lies just to the south of Bicester in Oxfordshire and extends to 188 hectares. It is well-connected by road and rail to Oxford, London, Birmingham and the south west.

The development is in a quiet location with a rural feel, offering ancient woodland, beautiful scenery and vast open spaces.

Are there any eligibility criteria?

You do not have to be local or undergo any assessments to register your interest or talk to the Graven Hill team about the various opportunities.

If you want to reserve a plot, however, you will need to undergo a qualifying process with BuildStore to demonstrate you have sufficient funds (or can access them by raising a mortgage) to acquire the land and build a home.

How long do I have to live in the house?

Graven Hill is about creating a sustainable community rather than a property development opportunity – so the hope is for people to stay for at least three years.

There will be a financial penalty for those who sell within that timeframe (starting from when you purchase the plot). However, sometimes circumstances change and there will be a pragmatic approach to this.

What can I build?

You’ll find a range of plot sizes and shapes across the various Character Areas, offering differing levels of architectural freedom.

Ultimately, you are in control of specifying your home, provided it fits with the Design Code and, in the case of a self build site, the Plot Passport.

Looking for a company to  help  you create a bespoke home? Browse our directory for Architecture & Design Companies.

Can I buy two sites to build a larger house?

No, the plots are individual. However, you may be able to buy plots next door to friends or family members – and even save money on your projects by pooling skills, trades etc and buying in greater bulk.

What is GIA?

This stands for gross internal area, and refers to the total enclosed internal floor area, above the ground level of a building, measured on the inside of the external walls. It is calculated in square metres.

The total GIA across all storeys is important for self-build schemes, as your project must fit within the maximum threshold set out on the Plot Passport.

In addition to this, a further 40% of the max GIA can be constructed below ground as a basement.

Who will construct the property for me?

With Tailored Finish schemes, you choose your preferences from a menu of options and Graven Hill delivers the house for you on a turnkey basis.

On a self build Golden Brick plot, you have full control over the design and how it is completed – whether you want to use a one-stop-shop supplier, main contractor or individual trades.

Will my new home have a warranty?

Yes, it will be covered by a 10-year structural warranty.

For Phase 1, the foundation works (delivered by Graven Hill) and the superstructure are both covered by Premier Guarantee, which is also undertaking the building control function.

You must provide a full set of drawings to Premier for approval prior to starting on site.

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